I recently visited The Resort at Paws Up outside of Missoula Montana. From the moment I hit baggage claim, I knew this would be an experience like no other. Bob from the bell staff greeted us to take our bags and got us settled into the car for the 35 minute drive into the mountains. With ice cold water and fresh baked cookies, we were set. Upon arrival at the ranch, we were greeted by friendly staff who checked us in and then drove us to our home for the next 2 days.
While they have many accommodation options to fit all types of travelers (homes, estates and tents) we chose the luxury camping. We stayed at Pinnacle “camp site” – with 6 luxury tents (4, 2 bedroom tents sleeping up to 4 and 2, 1 bedroom tents each with a king bed.) We were immediately greeted by our Camp Butler Jake who gave us the tour of our site.
The tents include big comfortable beds, large bathrooms with heated slate flooring, a porch and many other amenities not usually found in a tent!
Breakfast and dinner are served in the camp pavilion – an open building with tables, a fireplace and views of the surrounding area – literally plunked into the middle of nature. While the cook has his special for breakfast, he’ll make just about anything. Dinner was a 5 star, 4 course experience with beverages of your choice as well! For a change of scenery, literally, there is a restaurant at the main reception area as well. Evenings are spent by the camp fire with s’mores or on the big couches in front of the roaring fire in the camp pavilion connecting with new friends.
Special dining options are available including the chuck wagon dinner…. After riding out in a horse-drawn wagon, we enjoyed a BBQ buffet with elk, ribs, chicken and more – plus entertainment with campfire stories and music. While I didn’t have my kids, it was clearly a family favorite!
Daytime activities are plentiful. From canoeing and river rafting to sporting clays and a cattle drive, there is something for everyone. I chose the sporting clays and headed to the range with Jimmy, JT and Brendon. With little to no experience shooting a 20 gauge rifle, they had me hitting the clay birds in no time.
Got little ones? No worries – there is a kids camp for the younger crowd and babysitting for the tiniest campers. This gives mom and dad some time to enjoy some adventures of their liking while the kids experience the outdoors on their appropriate terms.
The staff was friendly, helpful and plentiful. To get from our tent site to any of the activities, we simply pulled out our smartphone and accessed the Paws Up app. From there we could message the staff we needed a ride, confirm our activity or inquire about a special service.
The Resort at Paws Up was fairly easy to get to from LA. A short flight from LAX to Seattle followed by a quick change of planes to Missoula, we left at 6am and were on property for lunch (we wanted to make the most of our time!) During certain times of the year, there is also a direct flight available.
While some would refer to this as “glamping” (glamourous luxury camping), I think it does it a disservice. For those who want to truly experience the beauty of nature but are not of the “pitch your own tent” type, this is a fabulous choice. Montana is beautiful – with areas untouched by man. The soaring bald eagle in the vast blue sky, the 3 sets of mountains surrounding Paws Up, falling asleep and waking up to the rush of the BlackFoot River right outside my tent – my time at Paws Up is at the top of my favorite vacations – and no doubt would be your favorite as well! For more information visit www.pawsup.com